Free Speech is Only Free When the Government Says it is

silencedIn the wake of the killing of Soldier Lee Rigby in London a few weeks ago, the police took dramatic action to prevent further violence.  They arrested people who posted online comments that were critical of or offensive to Muslims.

I have to admit, after a soldier has been nearly decapitated on a city street, this sort of response is nothing short of courageous!  I can only hope they knocked their doors down and cuffed them with zip-ties.  Lousy verbal terrorists!

Lest you laugh too soon or too loudly, know that today, June 4, in Tennessee, a meeting is taking place that is meant to explain how your comments on, for instance, Facebook or Twitter could be construed as civil rights violations if they are negative or derogatory to Muslims.

You can read about it here, at JudicialWatch.org.

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I find this a darkly disturbing and profoundly fascinating trend.  I mean, I have known physicians who told me that they could be fired for speaking certain opinions on certain topics.  And it’s very well-documented that college faculty has lost their positions for holding views in favor of Intelligent Design or against Darwinian evolution.

Certainly students are routinely ridiculed by professors for daring to speak in favor of their Christian faith, or for expressing any opinion that flies in the face of the cult of political correctness by opposing same-sex marriage or the latest fashionable political trend.

But I thought all of that was isolated stupidity, confined mostly to academic teaching centers where poor thinking and intellectual bullying are the stuff of greatness and tenure.

I was wrong.  The arrests in the UK are hints of what we may face before long.  Imagine the scenario.  Yet another horrible terrorist event occurs and you, blogger or columnist or Facebook member (and apparent agitator) happen to make some comment about Islamic extremism, or the radicalization of Muslims.

Within a few hours, your online account has a note, warning you to watch your mouth (or fingers).  Perhaps your account is frozen, with a nasty note from your Internet provider, more than happy to turn you in to avoid further hassles from the boys and girls in black.

Or, as in the case of the UK, the feds  (Homeland Security?  Verbal Assault Bureau?  National Hurtful Speech Association?) show up at 4 am in response to your 2 am rant and escort you down to the station for a little chat; all the while packing up your computer as evidence.  (And leaving your Cheetoh’s and Mountain Dew behind, dang it!)

Welcome to America.  Or Amerika!  Welcome to the land where inconvenient amendments to the inconvenient Constitution are routinely and systematically swept under the ever-expanding, ornate rug that is Sharia.

Welcome to the future our founders would never have envisioned.  Welcome to a multicultural nightmare in which the only response to any predation on freedom is to extol the virtue of the oppressors and their philosophies (or theologies, as it were).

A land where right is wrong, war is peace, freedom is slavery and terrorists are simply misunderstood.

Oddly enough, I would never subject my ideological enemies to this sort of harassment.  Let Richard Dawkins call me a cretin and simpleton for my faith.

Let Sam Harris revile everything about Christianity in the most unsavory of terms.  Let any and every atheist blame the ills of the world on Southern Baptists or Catholics or whomever they like.

This is still America and I will still defend their freedom to say it.

But the day that we are subject to speech codes for critical comments, for connecting the dots or for simply hurting the feelings of those whose very way of life threatens the essence of American liberty, on that day, to use a medical analogy, our national respirations will cease.

All that will be left will be our submission and our burial in the dusty annals of history, where weakness dies and oppression, unchecked grows stronger.

Because we are a nation that thrives only on the clean, clear air of free speech.

 

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